Gary Waters

Cleveland State head coach Gary Waters receives new seven-year contract

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From 1980 to 2006 the Cleveland State basketball program tallied just five 20-win seasons, with four of those being posted by Kevin Mackey from 1984-88 (and a Sweet 16 appearance in 1986).

In six seasons at Cleveland State Gary Waters has led the Vikings to 21 wins or more four times, and with that in mind the school has given Waters a new seven-year contract through the 2018-19 season.

Cleveland State has made four postseason appearances (one NCAA, three NIT) during Waters’ tenure, and considering the fact that their last postseason trip came all the way back in 1988 the school thought it important to lock up their head coach.

“Coach Waters is a highly respected leader whose teams excel on and off the basketball court,” said President Ronald M. Berkman on Thursday. “Coach Waters fully expects his students-athletes to give nothing less in the classroom then they give on the basketball court.

“We are grateful that Coach Waters has made the commitment to realize his goal of building a storied basketball program at CSU.”

Cleveland State enters the 2012-13 season having to account for the loss of four starters from last season’s 22-win squad, and the Vikings are expected to start four sophomores alongside senior forward Tim Kamczyc (9.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg).

One of those sophomores is 6-8 forward Anton Grady, who has been pegged as a breakout candidate this season by multiple outlets. And given Waters’ statement following Grady’s ten-point, 13-rebound performance in a win over Green Bay in January, it’s reasonable to expect Grady to lead the way for the Vikings.

“I was going to keep him in the game,” Waters said on that day. “He’s going to be our future.”

While Grady will be the one to lead Cleveland State between the lines, the administration sees a bring future with Waters leading the way.

Picked in the Horizon League preseason poll to finish 5th this season, Cleveland State opens the regular season tonight against Grambling.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej. 

UNLV’s Stephen Zimmerman out with a knee injury

UNLV forward Stephen Zimmerman Jr. shoots against San Diego State during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
(L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
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The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.

The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.

They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.

That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.

So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.

Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:

VIDEO: Buddy Hield is ‘all money’ on game-winning three vs. No. 24 Texas

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) takes a shot over Oklahoma State forward Chris Oliver during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
(AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
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With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.

At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes

“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:

“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”

“It’s all money.”

Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.

Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .

Want to talk about coaching luxuries?

Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.